If you’re like me, the first thing you did upon hearing the 2024 CrossFit Games were going to be held in Fort Worth, Texas, was figuring out more about the actual venue – Dickies Arena. After years inside Alliant Energy Center in Madison, I wanted to know what the next location was like.
So, let’s take a look…
Dickies Arena opened in 2019 and is a 14,000-seat arena adjacent to the Will Rogers Memorial Center (more on that in a bit). Dickies is owned by a public-private partnership between Fort Worth, Tarrant County, the state of Texas and a group of private-sector participants.
Over the years Dickies Arena has hosted numerous events including the 2022 & 2023 Professional Bull Riders World Finals, a Monster Truck Live show, 2021 & 2022 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, the first and second-round games of the 2022 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament and many more.
The highest capacity is 14,000 seats, but that is for concerts. Basketball games hold 13,300 attendees, family shows and hockey games can fit 12,200 fans and rodeo performances top out at 9,300 seats.
When comparing that to Madison, Dickies Arena is bigger. Madison’s Alliant Energy Center had a max capacity of 10,321 seats and just 7,432 for basketball and hockey.
In addition, Dickies Arena has 32 upscale suites in between the first and second levels.
The Dickies Arena was built to accommodate livestock-based sporting events. Those events require larger floor space than a basketball or hockey game. In fact, the arena floor is 250 ft. long by 125 ft. wide (with rounded corners) totaling 28,915 square feet.
Compare that to a hockey rink that is 200 ft. by 85 ft. or a basketball arena that is 94 ft. by 50 ft.
With those dimensions in mind, the Dickies Arena is close to as big as the North Park competition floor in Madison, albeit a little narrower. Compare that to the Coliseum in Madison where the square footage is estimated to be under 10,000 square feet.
Will Rogers Memorial Center
As for the surrounding area, we mentioned earlier that Dickies Arena is next to the Will Rogers Memorial Center. This is a 120-acre complex featuring seven facilities from the 5,652-seat Will Rogers Coliseum to the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall. It is unclear if the CrossFit Games will utilize any of the facilities within the Will Rogers Memorial Center, but it was included in Ft. Worth’s original RFP to host the 2021 CrossFit Games.
What about outdoor events?
The Dickies Arena is obviously an indoor venue. Historically, approximately half of the CrossFit Games events have been held outside. But with the much larger floor space inside Dickies Arena, there are two questions…
First, can most of the events just be held inside the arena?
And second, what about those events that can’t be confined to a standard floor plan…such as last year’s ‘The Capitol’ event, this year’s Ride or any swimming event.
To answer the first question, Dickies Arena could most likely handle any of the previous North Park events that are confined inside the stadium. For events that require running, or even road biking, utilizing the roads inside Will Rogers Memorial Center could be an option. It would be much easier to shut down those roads than going into the city.
According to Fort Worth’s 2021 proposal to host the CrossFit Games from 2023 to 2027, the city also offered up Farrington Field, a 20,000-set football stadium approximately one mile northeast of Dickies Arena. It’s unclear if this 2021 proposal is still as robust as what was agreed upon for 2024, but it appears that this field could be used if needed.
There is also Trinity Park just east of Dickies Arena. This includes numerous trails and pathways as well as a connection point to the Trinity Trails System that runs along Clear Fork Trinity River.
As for swimming, the best place would appear to be on TCU’s campus which is located a couple miles south of Dickies Arena.
The 2024 CrossFit Games appears to be a big departure from what we have seen in the past.
The Dickies Arena is much larger than the Madison Coliseum and will provide Dave Castro and Adrian Bozman many more possibilities for programming on a single floor space.
As for ticket sales, having everything inside one venue could prove to be interesting. While the seating capacity will be greater than the Coliseum, the Festival-only pass may not exist meaning that overall fewer tickets could be available.
And while most events could be inside next year, even a few events outside could prove difficult for the athletes as the average temperature in Fort Worth in August is 98 degrees. Compare that to just 81 degrees in Madison.
Regardless, a new canvas will hopefully allow the programming to feature some new and unique twists next year. So get ready, just 323 days until the 2024 CrossFit Games are underway in… Fort Worth, Texas!